Saved Summary and Analysis of Part 2


Scene 4. We see Mary come into the living room and turn on the light, only to find Harry, who is half-asleep in the armchair. After she puts sauce, salt, and pepper on the table, Harry gets up, puts the light back out, and gets back in the armchair. Mary comes back in and turns on the light, laying out knives forks, spoons, and napkins. Pam then comes in and turns on the television.

Mary comes in with the food and tells Pam not to walk around in a slip. The television isn't working properly, but they do not know how to fix it. When Len comes in, he comments on how dinner smells good. He sits at the table, while Pam puts her makeup on in front of the television. Suddenly, a baby starts crying in another room, and continues crying for a while, with no one going to console it.

When the baby begins screaming, Mary sends Pam to look after it, but Pam simply stands and turns up the volume on the television. The baby begins to choke, and Mary tells Pam to go and help the baby, but Pam tells her that it only cries more when she goes near it. "High time it 'ad a father," Mary says angrily. They argue about what to do, when Pam goes out of the room. While she's out, Fred comes in, evidently picking Pam up for a date.

When she comes back, Pam is wearing a dress, and the baby is still crying. Pam and Fred leave the house, with Fred asking her if she has any cigarettes. Once they have left, Len talks about wanting to save the child from the neglect of the household. Harry tells Len to close his door at night, so that he does not hear Fred and Pam having sex, but Len insists that he leaves it open to listen for the baby.

Scene 5. In Len's room, Pam is in Len's bed. She is apparently sick, and she tells him that she's moving back to her room the following day. He pours her some medicine and makes her drink it. Suddenly, Mary yells up and says that Pam is well again, according to the doctor, and ought to be able to walk around. Len tries to help her, but she refuses and yells at him.

Len goes out for a moment and comes back with the baby, urging her to take it, since she hasn't looked after the baby for weeks. Pam is annoyed with Len and complains about the fact that Fred doesn't seem to care about her. Len tells Pam that he got tickets to Crystal Palace, for a football game, and has invited Fred along, as a way of hopefully convincing him to visit Pam.

Mary calls up to Len telling him that dinner is ready, as Pam gets anxious about Fred's arrival later, insisting that she looks bad.

Scene 6. In the park, Fred is fishing, and Len sits beside him. Len asks Fred if he's coming by the house that night, since it's Saturday, but Fred says he's not. Fred asks Len why he doesn't have a good rod and Len says he cannot afford it. They discuss the right way to bait a hook, as Len tells Fred that Pam is expecting him. Fred tells Len that he can be with Pam now, but Len insists that she isn't interested in him. Mike comes in and sits beside them to fish. We learn that Len has been fired from his job for staying home to look after Pam.

When Pam comes in pushing a pram with a blue sausage balloon attached to the hood, Fred suggests that it's late for a walk. She confronts him about coming over later, and he agrees, reluctantly. She asks him to tell the truth for once, and he admits that he is not going to come over later. As Fred urges Pam to go home, she insists that he come over soon, and he tells her he'll be over next week.


By the start of Scene 4, Len and Pam seem to have drifted completely apart. Pam wanders around in her slip, eschewing dinner in favor of putting her makeup on in front of the television, while Len sits dutifully at the table to eat what Mary has made. Dimming the mood of the scene further is the sound of a baby crying in another room; no one gets up to help it, instead pursuing their respective selfish needs.

Matters only devolve as the baby screams in a rage, chokes, and whimpers pathetically, while everyone continues to ignore it. Pam is completely checked out, turning up the volume to drown out the baby's cries, and Mary does nothing to help it either, suggesting that what it needs is a father. This sequence is made all the more disturbing by how simple it is. None of the characters seem particularly bothered by the neglect of the child; rather they are lightly annoyed, leaving the audience to worry about the child's fate, powerless to help it.

Len, instead of getting offended and hurt by Pam's cruel treatment of him, only becomes more doting in the wake of her relationship with Fred. In Scene 5, when she is sick in bed, he alludes to the fact that she has treated him horribly, yet admits that he cannot help wanting to take care of her. He even goes so far as to stage an outing with Fred, his competition for Pam's heart, as a way of luring Fred back to Pam. Len is thus defined by his self-effacement, his sacrifice on behalf of the cold-hearted Pam, and his desire to do the right thing, even when it hurts him.

In a way, Len and the baby are in similar positions, though Len has chosen his fate and the baby has not. Both of them are harmed by the conflict between Fred and Pam, but in different ways. Len puts himself in the middle of their relationship conflict, often trying to convince Fred to visit Pam, while also trying to take care of Pam in the way that Fred never could. Meanwhile, the baby is caught between its parents against its will, and used alternately as an excuse for more contact between them or as a symbol of their dysfunction.

The play is exceedingly realistic, often presenting very straightforward domestic scenarios in stark terms. The characters speak in authentic lower-class London dialects and the action never breaks from realism to explore more theatrical or heightened realities. Thus, the audience is subjected to the bleak and cruel existence of the characters in an unflinching and straightforward way. This has the effect of trapping the viewer in the lives of the characters and representing their tragic existences in ways that can often feel claustrophobic and terrifying.